Hidden dangers of the Wendy house

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NEARLY half of children's Wendy houses examined by trading standards officers were unsafe, it was revealed yesterday.

Surrey trading standards said only 42 out of 96 playhouses examined were not completely safe. Officers in areas including Hereford and Worcester found similar problems.

One manufacturer has already been successfully prosecuted in the wake of the inves- tigation, launched in response to complaints from parents.

An investigation by Surrey trading standards officials found many playhouses contained splinters, sharp points, protruding nails, staples and screws.

Many had door and window hinges where fingers could be caught and injured while some doors could not be opened from the inside. Some used glass in windows, carrying the risk of breakage and injury. Two were built on two levels and had gaps in the balustrade through which a child could fall or where a child could become trapped.

Jon Garden Buildings Ltd, of West Yorkshire, was ordered to pay pounds 1,000 costs and conditionally discharged for two years for failing to meet the necessary safety standards.

Phil Dart, of Surrey trading standards, said many Wendy houses were made by garden shed manufacturers who did not know that they were classified as a toy. "With the kind of controls we now have with toy safety, it is very rare to find something that is wrong with something made in Britain. Normally, if something is that wrong it has come from the Far East."